Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

List of Illustrations

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pp. xi-xiv

Maps

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pp. xv-xv

Artifact Description Tables

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p. xvi

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Foreword

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pp. xvii-xviii

Christopher “Kit” Carson is one of the best known frontiersmen of the American West. Indeed, few individuals of that time and place in American history have had as many books written about them as has Kit...

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Prelude

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pp. xix-xx

It is a cold, crisp morning on December 4, 2004, and I am at the very place where Colonel Kit Carson sat astride his horse on Thanksgiving Day 1864. I stand in reverie as Carson’s 1864 battle unfolds in my mind. I see...

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Preface

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p. xxi

The purpose of this book is neither to pass judgment on the campaign of Colonel Kit Carson and his soldiers nor to give an opinion on Native American’s defense of their homeland. Rather, it is a tale of two journeys...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxii-xxiv

Because of the large number of people who helped me in this undertaking, it is possible that I inadvertently missed someone. If so, please forgive me, for your input was important, and I thank you.
Foremost in my acknowledgements are the property...

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Introduction

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pp. xxv-xxix

The rising sun glowed eerily across the fog-shrouded valley as I drove south toward the Canadian River. Here, in present-day Hutchinson County in the Texas Panhandle, William Bent, frontier trader, built the first...

Abbreviations

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pp. xxx-xxxii

Part I. Colonel Kit Carson’s 1864 AdobeWalls Campaign

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1. Events Leading Up To the Adobe Walls Battle

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pp. 3-10

During the summer of 1864, the United States Army at Fort Union was on high alert. The military was in conflict with the Kiowas and Comanches because of their raiding in eastern New Mexico and along the Santa...

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2. Fort Bascom to Ute Creek

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pp. 11-15

With wagons loaded, scouts out, troopers in their saddles, and infantry in formation, Carson, with a wave and a shout, ordered his command to commence down the Canadian River toward Comanche country...

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3. Ute Creek to Red River Springs

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pp. 16-22

Soldiers awoke from a night that was too short. Cobwebs of slumber vanished as the men recollected the groaning, moaning Indians of the prior evening. The war dance that stirred the emotions of the seventy-five...

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4. Red River Springs to Nara Visa Springs(Cañada de Los Ruedos)

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pp. 23-27

Indian scouts had been out of camp several hours before Carson’s long column of men, animals, and wagons set out in a slow, northward procession up a sandy valley from Red River Springs on the Canadian River...

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5. Nara Visa Springs (Cañada de Los Ruedos)to Hay Creek

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pp. 28-31

Before break of day, the soldiers had eaten breakfast, hitched up their mounts, and moved out. On this day, they would leave the Mexican cart road they had traveled since their departure from Fort Bascom. The...

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6. Hay Creek to Romero Creek

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pp. 32-35

The road leaving Hay Creek was the best Carson and his men had been on since leaving Fort Bascom. Compacted, gravel-covered soil gave way to sturdy prairie sod as they made their way up the gradual incline out...

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7. Romero Creek to Punta de Agua Creek

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pp. 36-39

With morning camp activities finished, the procession stretched northeast along the undulating short-grass prairie. Aft er about a mile, the terrain changed to a rougher landscape, and the column followed...

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8. Punta de Agua Creek to Los Redos Creek

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pp. 40-44

For almost three days, Carson’s command had marched northeast away from the Canadian River breaks. At Punta de Agua Creek, the route changed to an east-southeast orientation down the creek for approximately five miles. The troopers marched a short distance down...

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9. Los Redos Creek to Rica Creek

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pp. 45-48

Heavy, cold air held the campfire smoke low in Los Redos Valley as teamsters hitched reluctant mules to wagons and soldiers readied cavalry mounts for the day’s march. Carson, as usual, sent his scouts out ahead. More than likely, he sent some of the scouts as flankers...

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10. Rica Creek to Blue Creek

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pp. 49-54

Carson’s column marched up a shallow, grassy valley onto the low, rolling hills between Rica Creek and the brow of the Plains to the northeast. Wagons bounced over chert cobbles in the road near the head of the valley. Ever on the lookout for Kiowas and Comanches, troopers...

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11. Blue Creek to Probable Mule Creek

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pp. 55-57

The morning of November 24, 1864, began as other mornings for Carson’s command on the expedition to Adobe Walls, but the wind of change was blowing. The monotony of the long march was about over. Carson...

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12. Probable Mule Creek to the Canadian River

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pp. 58-60

On the evening of November 24, 1864, the troopers had performed their usual camp duties before sunset. Some had begun to eat supper. It was no feast, nor were there special activities to celebrate that eve of the second official, national Thanksgiving Day. It likely...

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13. Down River to Adobe Walls: The First Battle ofAdobe Walls

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pp. 61-74

Colonel Carson’s scouts returned from down river just as the last hold of darkness gave way to daylight. At that time of day, during the winter, the temperature falls to its lowest point, and on a clear night, the heaviest frost forms. Troopers were almost numb from standing and...

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14. Hot Retreat

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pp. 75-81

At about half-past three on the afternoon of November 25, 1864, Carson ordered the command to move out. With calm reserve, gained from more than thirty years of fighting Indians and surviving desperate situations, Carson stationed his troops in strategic positions...

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15. The Aftermath

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pp. 82-90

The trumpeter sounded reveille earlier than usual on November 26, 1864, as a safeguard against a predawn Indian attack. As darkness slipped away, Carson’s eyes searched the surrounding area; he did not know what strategy the Indians might employ. Daylight passed...

Part II. Archeological Methods, Sites, and Artifacts

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16. Introduction to Part II

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pp. 93-95

This section offers, in essence, an armchair tour of discoveries documenting Colonel Carson’s 1864 Adobe Walls campaign. No telling of his and my intertwined journeys could be complete without it. It is my intent that these pages serve to guide readers along Carson’s...

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17. Fort Bascom–Adobe Walls Road

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pp. 96-102

A key part of my study of Carson’s campaign was locating his route from New Mexico to Adobe Walls. The only previously recorded information was that he “traveled by easy stages on a practicable wagon road along the north bank of the Canadian...

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18. Red River Springs Site and Artifacts

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pp. 103-113

The first night out from Fort Bascom, Colonel Carson and his troops camped at Ute Creek. This camp now rests beneath the waters of Ute Lake. The second night out, Carson encamped on a flat between two springs on the northwest side of the Canadian River, where it makes...

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19. Nara Visa Springs Site and Artifacts

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pp. 114-120

The Nara Visa Springs camp extends over five acres, more or less, with the Fort Bascom–Adobe Walls Road bisecting it in a northeasterly direction. The site is on a high terrace northeast of the confluence of East Nara Visa and West Nara Visa creeks. The site overlooks...

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20. Hay Creek Site and Artifacts

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pp. 121-124

The Fort Bascom–Adobe Walls Road crosses Hay Creek a little more than a mile south of its headspring and about one hundred yards north of its confluence with a minor east-west oriented creek. At present, water flowing from the spring reaches the wagon road...

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21. Romero Creek Site and Artifacts

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pp. 125-135

The topography of Romero Creek varies from a wide valley with spring-filled tributaries at its head, to deep-cut canyons near its confluence with the Canadian River to the south. The Fort Bascom Adobe–Walls Road crosses about three and one-half miles below the springs...

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22. Playa Lake Site and Artifacts

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pp. 136-139

The Playa Lake site, trinomial number of HLHT6, is on a tongue of the High Plains that extends between Punta de Agua Creek and the Canadian River Valley to the south. Blue grama and buffalo grass, with a scattering of cholla and yucca, are the prevalent vegetation in...

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23. Rita Blanca Creek Site and Artifacts

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pp. 140-146

The Rita Blanca site rests on top of the east side of a long ridge northwest of the confluence of the Rita Blanca, Sand, and Punta de Agua creeks. Dense brush, mostly skunkberry sumac, covers the sandy ridge. Non-vegetated areas have blown out, leaving a deflated surface of...

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24. Sand Creek Site and Artifacts

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pp. 147-150

Sand Creek site, a quarter-mile east of Rita Blanca site, encompasses about eight acres along the north side of Sand Creek. Skunkberry sumac, yucca, little bluestem grass, and other vegetation form a dense cover along the low...

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25. Los Redos Creek Site and Artifacts

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pp. 151-160

Los Redos Creek (41HT60) meanders southward out of caliche-capped canyons, across a wide valley, and into Punta de Agua Creek. The Fort Bascom Adobe– Walls Road crosses the creek at the point where it changes course from south to west, just below the canyons...

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26. Rica Creek Site and Artifacts

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pp. 161-169

Rica Creek Campsite (41HT61) covers approximately twenty-five acres of sagebrush flat west of Rica Creek, with a minor part of the camp extending to the east side. A small picket camp occupied the higher ground about one hundred fifty yards north of the main...

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27. Rica Creek Site-B and Artifacts

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pp. 170-175

Rica Creek-B (41HT61-B) spreads over nine acres along a ridge about one mile south of Rica Creek (41HT61). Rica Creek, the stream, runs south making a sharp bend to the east before turning back south a short distance below the campsite. A dry gulley borders the...

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28. Reimer Arroyo Site and Artifacts

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pp. 176-179

Reimer Arroyo camp (HLMO3B) is on a dry ravine one mile north of a large playa lake and is midway between Rica Creek camp and Blue Creek camp. The site extends over one acre along the north and south sides of the Fort Bascom–Adobe Walls Road. Having found only...

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29. Blue Creek Site and Artifacts

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pp. 180-185

The headwaters of Blue Creek originate at the eastern escarpment of the High Plains. Two dry tributaries meander through deep canyons for four or five miles and converge where they enter into a wide valley.
Carson’s troops bivouacked on both sides of Blue...

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30. Carson’s Moore Creek Site and Artifacts

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pp. 186-192

After a long day’s battle at Adobe Walls and the Kiowa village, Colonel Carson marched back up the Canadian River searching for his supply wagons. On a long ridge west of, what is now, Moore Creek, Carson found Colonel Abreu and his contingent holding the...

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31. Penrose and Carr’s Moore Creek Site and Artifacts

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pp. 193-197

During Sheridan’s 1868 winter campaign, Penrose and Carr moved nine companies of troops from North Palo Duro Creek to the Canadian River. They left on Christmas Day and arrived at the Canadian three days...

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32. Kiowa Village Site and Artifacts

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pp. 198-210

In the winter of 1864, Chief Dohäsan and the Kiowa elders selected a choice location for their camp below Guadal Doha (the red bluffs) on the north side of the Canadian River. A small clear stream bordered the village on the north while the Canadian River ran along the...

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33. Red Bluff Military Site and Artifacts

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pp. 211-216

The Red Bluff Military site (HLHC3) spreads over fifteen acres north of Dohäsan’s Kiowa village. A dolomite-capped, red bluff forms the north boundary of the site while Carson Creek borders it on the south. Today cottonwoods, willows, hackberries, plums, skunkberry...

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34. 1864 Adobe Walls Battle Site and Artifacts

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pp. 217-224

When Carson’s troops reached Adobe Walls in 1864, the eroding walls were all that remained of Bent’s Trading Post. The walls were tall enough to afford protection for horses and for Dr. Courtright’s field hospital.
Today, the only evidences of Bent’s structure are...

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Epilogue

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pp. 225-226

Historians may debate the overall impact of Col. Carson’s 1864 Adobe Walls campaign in the Indian wars of the 1860s and 1870s, but the fact remains that Carson made a significant contribution to Indian warfare by proving the effectiveness of penetrating the...

Notes

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pp. 227-235

Bibliography

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pp. 236-240

Index

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pp. 241-252

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About the Author

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p. 253

Alvin R. Lynn grew up on a farm along the Pease River in rural Motley County, Texas. He is a retired social studies and science teach and coach. With a lifelong passion for archaeology and history, he now serves as a steward for the Texas Historical Commission. He and his wife Nadyne live in Amarillo, Texas...

Image Plates

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